A Taste of Alexander Valley Wine Country
The Land of Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexander Valley, in the northeastern region of Sonoma County, is best known for producing world-famous Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. However, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot also express themselves beautifully in this volcanic and fertile valley. In addition, Zinfandel, Syrah, Viognier, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese grapes have proven to be well suited to the climate and soils of the region, so there is wine to suit everyone’s taste. This wine region us less commercial than Napa -you will have a relaxing, unhurried day tour. Options include visits to organic wineries, barrel tasting, cave tours and tram or horse-riding tours through the vineyards of your choice.
You can choose to spend your day at a variety of wineries in the valley or opt to spend a couple of hours in the valley and more time in the town of Healdsburg, where many of the region’s wineries have opened tasting rooms, affording guests the opportunity to taste and discover at their own pace.Brief history: Alexander Valley was named for the 19th-Century pioneer Cyrus Alexander, who moved here from Pennsylvania in 1833, and transformed it into an agricultural region. Fifty years ago, the valley was known for its prune and walnut orchards, and fields dotted with livestock and dairy farms. Today, Alexander Valley is an American viticultural area where the Russian River flows through spectacular vineyards bordered by Taylor and Sonoma Mountains. With the largest acreage of vineyards, and the smallest number of wineries, most grapes are sold outside of the valley, to Napa wineries in particular.
Neighboring Dry Creek Valley, where the first settlers arrived after the Gold Rush, is home to more than 70 wineries, and is best known for producing world-class Zinfandel, though Bordeaux and Rhone style wines are also widely available. The valley remains a rural countryside, where most of the small wineries are still family owned. Chalk Hill region, with its unique, chalky white ash soil, is known for its excellent Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs, and Bordeaux cultivars are also available.
The town of Healdsburg, at the southern end of the Alexander Valley and Dry Creek appellations, has become a very popular getaway destination for day and weekend visitors. With its European style charm, wide variety of chic boutiques, art galleries, wine tasting rooms and restaurants ranging from casual to Michelin-starred, Healdsburg is enjoying a gastronomical renaissance.
If you are looking for a culinary experience within a winery, and are a movie fan, look no further than Francis Ford Coppola winery with its ‘Rustic’ restaurant, renowned for fine dining and great atmosphere. Also check out the extensive museum filled with memorabilia from his movies, including the 1948 Tucker car, and Don Corleone’s desk from The Godfather.
Enjoy superb wines on Route 128, a gorgeous and scenic ‘wine trail’ road that runs through the Alexander Valley rolling hills, endless vineyards, and rural countryside. For the unique experience of ‘a flight within a varietal,’ (a taste of one particular type of grape from different wine regions) Geyserville offers this opportunity at its boutique wineries. This small town with old style western ambience, used to be a quick stopover for visitors to California Wine Country, but has become a destination in itself, thanks to its excellent boutique wineries and warm hospitality.Selection of Wineries in downtown Healdsburg and Alexander Valley : In addition to visiting wineries in the Alexander Valley, the town of Healdsburg offers the option of strolling and tasting at 30+ wineries representing more than seven appellations and serving an extensive variety of wines from small production wineries to those with household names. The following is a partial list of some tasting rooms you may wish to visit:
La Crema – Best known for their excellent Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, with exclusive wines available only at this tasting room.
Murphy Goode – Serves a wide range of wines, some of which have the label ‘Homefront’ due to their partnership with Operation Homefront that helps military families in need.
Toad Hollow – Have you seen their whimsical wine labels and heard their story? A variety of wines, including sparkling, are available at very reasonable prices.
Rosenblum Cellars – Known for their Zinfandels that come from different vineyards around California and present different degrees of spice and dark berry flavors.
Williamson Wines Tasting Room – Features innovative wine and food pairing, served by friendly staff many of whom, like the winery owner, are from Australia.
Seghesio Family Vineyards – Specializes in Zinfandel that comes primarily from four estate-farmed vineyards: Home Ranch, San Lorenzo, River Road in Alexander Valley, and Cortina in Dry Creek Valley.
Ferrari-Carano and Lazy Creek Wineries at Seasons of The Vineyard on the plaza – A household name, and a small production under one roof. This wine tasting may include four Ferrari-Carano Cabernet-based wines and the delicious dessert wine, Eldorado Noir, paired with chocolates and dried fruit. Lazy Creek specializes in sustainable-farming and current wines include Pinot Noir, Rosé and Gewurztraminer
Along Route 128 wine trail, there are a number of small and famous wineries you can visit including Starlite Vineyards, Francis Ford Coppola, Frick Winery, Geyser Peak, Hanna, Alexander Valley Vineyards, De Lorimier Winery, Marietta Cellars, Meeker Vineyard, Pedroncelli, Raymond Burr Vineyards, Route 128 Winery, Trione Vineyards & Winery, Trentadue Winery, Clos du Bois, David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery. Let us handle your Alexander Valley wine tour for an unsurpassed experience.